Finnie demands less, not more weapons being carried by Police

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REGIONAL GREEN MSP and former police officer John Finnie has been speaking out over plans to increase the number of police officers carrying firearms and tasers.

Mr Finnie, whose Highland and Islands constituency responsibilities includes Moray, was responding to the Police Scotland announcement over a different model of deployment for Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) operations.

It followed Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson’s clear criticism of the existing model being “ineffective” – however, the Scottish Green Party consider the changes – which would mean officer attending routine incidents and armed with tasers – as flawed.

Speaking after the statement Mr Finnie, in his role as Scottish Greens Justice spokesperson, said: “I advised the Cabinet Secretary that Police Scotland sending briefings or meeting with politicians does not constitute consultation on this vital issue.

“We are seeing slow but significant changes in our police service, quite properly being equipped with personal protection equipment, to the roll out of offensive, potentially fatal weaponry like firearms and TASER.

“I am disappointed that my request that the Cabinet Secretary call on Police Scotland to publish the risk assessments they purport underwrite the existing and proposed models of deployment went unanswered.

“What we need is facts not innuendo and spin. There is no legitimate reason why the public should not be given access to assessments which are fundamentally changing our model of policing.

“I will ask the acting Chief Constable to publish both documents.  The Scottish Green Party also require to know the mechanisms by which the disarming of police officers can take place. We want less rather than more weapons in our communities.”